Sharp never turned to meet stare of victim's sister
Emma Gowing talks to the media outside Mold Crown Court in Wales after Clive Sharp pleaded guilty to her sister Catherine's murder
Emma Gowing stared intently at Clive Sharp, the man who brutally murdered her sister, Catherine last October, as he sat yesterday just feet away from her in the dock of Mold Crown Court.
Moments earlier, Sharp had been brought in by a prison guard.
Dressed in a grey jogging outfit, he exhaled slightly as he replied to the court clerk’s instruction to identify himself. His eyes looked only to the floor.
Throughout the hearing the 46-year-old, with a slightly greying goatee beard, never once turned his eyes to the right to meet the stare of his victim’s sister, or her husband, Shay Maguire, who were supported by court officials.
Catherine Gowing’s disappearance on October 12th last year quickly escalated into a murder-hunt, though the full horror of the night was unknown until it was detailed by prosecuting counsel, Andrew Thomas, yesterday.
It came in shuddering blows, leading some to visibly wince: she had been attacked as she slept in the early hours by Sharp, a man she knew as the unlikable boyfriend of her housemate, fellow Irish woman Jane Doyle.
Tied up, she was raped repeatedly.
The two women had become friends in Hungary where both had gone to study veterinary science.
On graduation, both had taken jobs in a veterinary practice in Mold, and given a house in New Brighton in which to stay.
Sharp, now known to have been convicted of sexual offences a number of times during the 1990s, had only months before the murder started a relationship with Ms Doyle, though he was unfaithful to her.
It is known that in this short period Catherine Gowing disliked the man who would subsequently murder her.
Since the murder, Ms Gowing’s elderly parents, John and Maureen, family and friends have endured agony imagining her suffering, while Sharp has added “immeasurably” to that pain because much of her body has not been found, said the judge.
He sat quietly
After midnight on October 13th, Sharp parked in a hotel car park near Ms Gowing’s house, but he did not then break in.
Returning to the car, CCTV cameras later showed, he sat quietly, unmoving for 90 minutes, before returning.
The delay to his plan was caused because his victim was still up.
In Sharp’s fantasies, told to sex-offender counsellors in the 1990s, the victim would be attacked while asleep, bound, gagged and raped.
Sometimes, in those fantasies, the victim would live, sometimes not.
Prosecuting counsel Andrew Thomas detailed the case: Ms Gowing was bound and had, most likely, suffered for hours, dismembered, her body parts dumped.
Not once in this litany of horrors did Emma Gowing ever remove her eyes from Sharp.
Following his sentencing, she joined police and prosecutors outside to talk to reporters, preferring a language of love to the record of infamy left by Sharp, but, equally, not seeking to shy away from the darkness left by him.
“Truth is truth, the facts are the facts: our humanity shines when we conduct ourselves with kindness, with compassion, with integrity, when we speak the truth. Catherine was brutally murdered, that is a fact.
“Catherine conducted her life with love, with kindness, with compassion, with integrity: that is the truth,” said Ms Gowing, her voice trembling slightly, as she looked straight on into the cameras, determined to leave a public record of the day.
“The sentence deliberated and levelled by Mr Justice Griffith-Williams means today our world is a slightly safer place.
“No other woman will be harmed by the man who murdered my sister. That is a good thing,” she went on.
In life, her 37-year-old sister had been “exceptional”, “wonderful”, she said: “[Catherine] measured herself against the following quote from Albert Pine: ‘What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.’
“She was a beautiful light, she shone very brightly, she enriched the lives of all she encountered: all God’s creatures.
“Our light is gone from our mortal world. She now shines elsewhere,” said Ms Gowing, supported by her husband.